[DISCLAIMER: All of the opinions in this post are 100% mine, and I was not offered any compensation for this review.]
Growing up, I didn’t understand fashion, style, or even basic color theory. Everything I wore was picked out by my parents, and I had little to no input, because I had no idea what I was talking about. This makes sense for a very young child–perhaps ages five to about eight or nine. But by the time fifth or sixth grade comes along, it is normal for children to start developing a personal style, and a rudimentary understanding of what looks good. This didn’t happen to me. Not only were my parents able to shop for clothes without me physically being there, but they would also pick out every outfit I’d wear to school… every single day.
I didn’t mind this for two reasons:
- Both of my parents were strangely talented at picking out age-appropriate and flattering clothing for me.
- I was fashion-challenged enough to run around in a potato sack, if that’s what they laid out for me on my bed each morning.
Of course, I did eventually gather some semblance of personal taste. For example, high school Abs loved anything that sparkled, and college Abs liked the whole casual-yet-form-fitting style that adult Abs still cringes about to this day. Yet, I still didn’t really know how to effectively shop for myself, or thoughtfully assemble an outfit. I just threw on whatever worked, and focused much more of my personal hygiene energy on makeup and hair. From around age thirteen ’til twenty-two, I’d look around at my peers and marvel in their very clear, very purposeful style, and wonder, “Do I even have one of those?”
In the world of people who love YA (young adult) fiction, there have been a plethora of blog posts dedicated to defining YA lit, but I’d like to attempt something different. YA has a fairly straightforward definition: Books featuring a teen protagonist, whose main journey results in (or is sparked by) their coming-of-age. I am confident in saying literally any published book that contains both a teen protagonist and a coming-of-age (or loss-of-innocence) theme will be shelved under “Teen” or “Young Adult Fiction” or “Teen Lit” in bookstores who partake in such headings.
Since the facts about what YA is have been well-established by bloggers, writers, readers, fans, teachers, students, teens, adults, publishers, editors, agents, etc., I’d like to discuss what YA is not. Though I have limited myself to five points, so as not to type until my fingers begin bleeding.
Motivation can sometimes come in waves. Take my motivation to write this post, for example. I have been trying to write it all day, and at 8:56 PM EST, I am finally getting around to it. In the spirit of full disclosure, I wrote the title of this post closer to around 8:30 PM. Even though I wanted to write a post much earlier in the day, my motivation kept leaping from idea to idea, leaving me with nothing, instead of an endless abundance of completed projects. What gives?
Big dreams come in two sizes: attainable, and out of reach. In my experience, there isn’t much in the way of a middle ground. After spending minutes considering what the happy medium could potentially exist as (“close but no cigar,” “just shy of paradise,” “grasping at straws and maybe successfully grabbing one”), I abandoned that particular endeavor. The big, scary, thrilling dreams are too important, too significant to live a maybe-so existence in our brains.
We all hope the majority of big dreams are attainable. They may seem a little farfetched, but you can imagine a scenario in which that dream came true, and that scenario doesn’t seem entirely impossible. Getting a job in your field, graduating college, falling in love, making enough money to have consistent disposable income, having a compatible group of friends, being a stellar DM–these are all examples of attainable big dreams. While some may seem bigger than others, especially depending on your own life and goals, they are all mostly reachable in one way or another.
Excitement and hope for Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 once filled my soul, but have now dissipated and left a hollow shell of a writer. Last year, I was a complete failure. I could barely get a few words on the page for an entire month, and that is just embarrassing. What’s worse is that I had a head start then, just as I do now. Before Camp started in 2014, I counted around 8,000 words on the page. That right there is a decent head start.
This year, for the exact same “manuscript” (I can’t even use that word in reference to myself without rolling my eyes), I’d written nearly 10,000 words before Camp day. It is day eight, and I’ve written a total of 1,850 additional words. For those of you playing at home, that is not a large amount of words. In fact, many people may correctly say it is a pitiful amount of words, especially considering my target word count… which I am not even going to mention, because at this point it’s laughable.
Let’s start off with declarative statements. I am a gamer girl. I like video games. I have many feelings about games and how they relate to me.
There is a definition of gamer girls: Girl gamers are those who identify as girls/female and play video games. That feels pretty straightforward, and there isn’t a lot of room for interpretation. And yet, it doesn’t feel complete–at least, not when I think of myself as a gamer girl. As much as I want the definition to be clean, cut and dry, black and white… it doesn’t feel complete when I apply it to myself. There are hidden–and not-so-hidden–complexities revolving around the “Gamer Girl” label, and I know I can’t (and do not want to) speak for everyone, but I’m attempting to break it down for myself. There’s a lot to cover in this topic, so it’s going to be a series I semi-regularly add to. The first installment:
I’m a Gamer Girl Who Wins
I have never been particularly fantastic at introductions. When I was a Brownie in Girl Scouts, the endless get-to-know-you games we’d play whenever anyone new joined the troop were enough to make my poor seven-year-old self nearly pass out from anxiety.